MNLF suffers more casualties-A A +A
By Bong Garcia
Friday, September 27, 2013
AT LEAST 15 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) were killed while trying to breach the “areas of operations” in Zamboanga City, officials said Friday.
The killing happened as government security forces continue the clearing operations in the city, said Armed Forces’ Public Affairs Officer Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala.
The areas of operation include the adjoining villages of Sta. Catalina, Sta. Barbara, and Rio Hondo that were occupied by the MNLF rebels when they infiltrated the city last September 9.
Zagala said the rebels were killed as firefight erupted Thursday evening when a group of MNLF rebels tried to breach the areas of operation.
Another firefight erupted around noontime Friday, said Zagala.
He said the clearing operations continue in a bid to clear the area of operation of MNLF rebels and to normalize the situation in the city that has affected thousands of civilians.
“We want to be able to remove pockets of resistance within the areas of operation. We are finishing the small pockets of engagement against this MNLF Misuari faction,” he added.
Zamboanga Peninsula police information officer Ariel Huesca said that 166 rebels were killed as the standoff entered its 19th day Friday.
The standoff started when soldiers blocked hundreds of MNLF rebels from Basilan, Sulu, and Zamboanga Sibugay provinces from marching towards the city hall, where the rebels planned to hoist their flag to declare independence.
Zagala said that 186 MNLF rebels were captured and 52 have surrendered since the start of the standoff.
He said 23 government forces -- 18 soldiers and five policemen -- were killed and 180 others -- 166 soldiers and 14 policemen -- were wounded.
He said a total of 172 firearms, mostly high-powered, were seized from the rebels.
Huesca said 12 civilians were killed while 72 others were wounded.
“Of this number of victims, nine were hit by stray bullets,” Huesca said.
A total of 186 hostages who were safely recovered were already processed, added Huesca.